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Carolina Beach Names Interim Police Chief; One Officer On Unpaid Leave

Carolina Beach Police Sergeant Chris Chafin's police cruiser was towed to the Town's garage the night of June 23, after an accident in Pender County.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Carolina Beach Police Chief Kurt Bartley is retiring later this month.
Interim Town Manager Bruce Shell said Saturday July 6th that Detective Harry Humphries will assume the role of Interim Police Chief. The Town will soon begin the process of searching for a new chief. 
Shell explained Saturday that, "I think it's fair to say... our police chief is retiring and with his vacation time he is utilizing he will not be on the job as long as we anticipated. So we had to take some necessary steps to make sure we had a viable police force. So I have promoted - as of yesterday - Harry Humphries as Interim Chief."
Shell explained, "With that, we've restructured so that he has the strong support that he needs to do that. We are asking some of our staff to step up into higher roles of responsibility than what they've had in the past but we are confident the citizens will see the same high quality of police service they are accustomed to."
Shell explained Chief Bartley's retirement is not connected to another matter in the police department. That involves an internal investigation of a personnel matter regarding Sgt. Chris Chafin.
Shell said he could not comment on any specifics of the personnel matter but that Sgt. Chafin is on unpaid administrative leave pending his time to appeal a personnel decision.
He said Chief Bartley has been working hard on rewriting the Department's Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual to ensure a better operational future for the department. That will be presented to the Town Council at their July 16th, regular meeting.
Humphries has worked 14 years at Carolina Beach. Prior to that he worked for a year as Police Chief in Atkinson, NC and also worked for the Kure Beach Police Department for nine years.
1980 to 1990 he worked for a Hair and Skincare Manufacturing Company as a regional sales manager. From 1974 to 1980 he worked for the Maryland State Police.
Humphries said, "It's going to be a challenge, but I'm ready for it." He said Bartley's official retirement date is August 1st and the Town will then decide whether to search outside of the department for a new chief or promote from within. He said he's going to apply for the position.
Humphries said the department will continue their aggressive patrols in the community, keep the crime rate low and they are starting a new community watch program. Additionally, he said the departments School Resource Officer program has been well received at Carolina Beach Elementary School.
He said the department will begin participating in the Governor's Highway Safety Program that will lead to additional funding for officers and equipment.
He said the increased patrols on the Boardwalk have also helped to promote a smooth and safer environment.
Chief Kurt Bartley is retiring effective August 1st and will begin his final vacation time starting July 12th.
Kurt said he's worked for the Town for almost 33 years as an EMS responder, fire fighter and in the police department. On Tuesday July 2, Bartley said he originally planned for retirement in December, but is retiring a little early to focus on family matters. Bartley was promoted to Chief in July of 2012 after serving as interim chief for eight months. He took the position previously held by Chief William Younginer who retired  December 1, 2011.
Bartley previously served as captain of the department starting in 2005. Bartley began working for the Carolina Beach Police Department where he was hired as a police dispatcher in 1984.
Kurt stayed with the Department for 2 years before joining the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department where he became a Juvenile Investigator.
In 1993, Bartley returned to the Carolina Beach Police Department. Bartley was promoted through the ranks and in 2004, was made Captain. Additionally, he was named the Town’s Harbor Master for the Boat Basin.
Bartley was also the DARE officer promoting a drug-free message to the classrooms in Carolina Beach. He also worked for the Town's fire department for many years before retiring from that position. He previously worked for the Town's EMS Rescue Squad for a number of years in the early 1980's.
He said one of his last major projects is rewriting the department's Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual which will be presented to the Council for approval at their next meeting. Bartley said the new SOP will hopefully set the stage for even more future improvements in the department.

Carolina Beach Police Officer Involved In Auto Accident

Carolina Beach Police Sergeant Chris Chafin's police cruiser was towed to the Town's garage the night of June 23, after an accident in Pender County.
According to a North Carolina Highway Patrol report, Chafin's 2007 Ford police car was traveling south on NC HWY 210. A deer entered the roadway in from of the vehicle. Chafin avoided the deer by running off the road to the right. He attempted to re-enter the roadway, lost control, ran off the road to the left and struck a ditch.
The vehicle came to rest in a cornfield across the ditch.
According to the report roads were slippery that night due to rainy weather.
Damage was listed as "underneath" and an estimated speed of 55 mph.
Chafin was headed home to his address in Currie, NC approximately 35 miles from Carolina Beach.
The Carolina Beach Police Department provides take home vehicles for officers essentially assigning them a dedicated vehicle.
Captain Anthony Marcucilli said Chafin was ok after the accident and suffered no major injuries. The vehicle was damaged mostly underneath with several tires ruptured.